CFMEU in court for allegedly shutting Barangaroo site

"The NSW Branch of the CFMEU and ten of its officials, including State Secretary Brian Parker, are facing court over allegations of unlawful industrial action orchestrated in support of a CFMEU delegate who allegedly pushed and verbally abused a Lend Lease worker.

In the statement of claim filed in the Federal Court by Fair Work Building and Construction, it was alleged that there were several reports that:

  • CFMEU delegate Peter Genovese approached a Lend Lease worker at the Barangaroo project site during an inspection of empty amenities and said: “If I find out that anyone is using this lunch shed, I will kill you”;
  • Mr Genovese pushed a Lend Lease worker before grabbing him and attempting to punch the worker. Two other workers intervened to prevent the confrontation from escalating further."

Lend Lease conducted an investigation of the incident and informed Mr Genovese that his conduct was inappropriate and he would be issued with a formal warning. CFMEU official Robert Kera allegedly responded by saying: “If this proceeds, we will dispute it. Whatever PG (Genovese) has done it’s part of his job as a delegate”. Mr Genovese was stood down from the project on full pay.

Following the investigation, on the morning of 24 July 2014 FWBC alleges that CFMEU officials blockaded the site and directed workers to attend a meeting at 6.30am. At the meeting Mr Parker called for a vote in favour of a strike in support of Mr Genovese being reinstated to the project. As a result, the majority of the approximately 1,000 workers went on strike.

When the workers who did not wish to go on strike attempted to re-enter the Barangaroo site, FWBC alleges that they were confronted by CFMEU officals who were blockading the site entrance.  The workers were allegedly abused by the officials and called “scum” and “dogs”.  The situation further escalated, with Mr Parker having a heated exchange with NSW Police Officers who were trying to help workers gain entry to the site. 

Another CFMEU official, Luke Collier, also allegedly abused two FWBC Inspectors who were monitoring the situation, calling them “a f*cking grub”, “a f*cking dog” and saying “you’re lower than a paedophile you grub”.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said this was the second claim FWBC had filed this year alleging that the CFMEU and its officials had established unlawful blockades at the Barangaroo project.

“In both instances workers who attempted to gain access to the site to do their jobs were said to be abused by union officials. In this case, government officials have also been exposed to abuse for simply doing their jobs,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“This now brings the number of CFMEU officials before the court in FWBC matters to 108. The rule of law ought to be respected on construction sites. It is of grave concern that we continue to see multiple examples of this type of behavior in the industry.”

Respondents in this matter include:

  • Brian Parker
  • Luke Collier
  • Robert Kera
  • Michael Greenfield
  • Darren Greenfield
  • Tony Sloane
  • Darren Taylor
  • Richard Aumitagi
  • Peter Genovese
  • Danny Reeves

A first directions hearing for the matter has been set for 3 May 2016.

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